Wednesday, January 1, 2020
As I drove on a recent trip to North Dakota for Christmas, I was thinking about the new year, and what would be different in my life. I was reminded by the Holy Spirit that my pride is still far too powerful a force in my life and dictates too many actions and words. It was a sobering time of reflection, but it was necessary for the Holy Spirit to continue His work of refining me and polishing me into a mirror which is able to reflect Christ’s glory.
The older I get, just like an aging mirror, I am more aware of black dots that don’t reflect anything. I decided on the correct course of action to take. It is different than what most people think and do. Usually New Year’s resolutions address specific issues that we want to change. But the effectiveness of such resolutions is totally controlled by the character of one’s heart. Unless the heart has been transformed, the external changes will not last. That’s why we make resolutions over and over and over again. We are resolving to fix the wrong wrong.
The wrong that needs to be fixed is the condition of our heart. Pride has blackened it so it cannot reflect the glory of God’s nature in Jesus Christ. Self must be sacrificed. Everything that connects us to the pursuit of self-fulfillment and self-valuation must be eliminated. We must resolve to know Christ and Christ alone and give Him unequalled and unhindered access to every part of our being. We must crucify our own life on the cross and invite Jesus Christ to reign supreme on the throne of our hearts. All change happens after surrender to Jesus. No change is permanent that is the product of our own initiative. King Solomon knew this:
Ecclesiastes 7:23 All this I tested by wisdom and I said, “I am determined to be wise”— but this was beyond me.
Two songs come to my mind that are significant in my life. One is a very old hymn named I Am Resolved written by Palmer Hartsough. The second is a contemporary song from the 1980’s called I Am Determined by Tim Sheppard. These lyrics reflect the nature of a heart truly making the right resolution. Read them carefully and contemplatively. It’s not too late to change your New Year’s resolutions.
I Am Resolved
I am resolved no longer to linger, Charmed by the world’s delight,
Things that are higher, things that are nobler, These have allured my sight.
I am resolved to go to the Savior, Leaving my sin and strife;
He is the true One, He is the just One, He hath the words of life.
I am resolved to follow the Savior, Faithful and true each day;
Heed what He sayeth, do what He willeth, He is the living Way.
I am resolved to enter the kingdom Leaving the paths of sin;
Friends may oppose me, foes may beset me, Still will I enter in.
I will hasten to Him, hasten so glad and free; Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to Thee.
I will hasten, hasten to Him, hasten so glad and free; Jesus, Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to Thee.
I Am Determined
Darkness around me, sorrow surrounds me; Though there be trials, still I can sing.
For I have this treasure – my God reigns within me, And I am determined to live for the King.
Hell’s gates are trembling from our prayers ascending Darkness is crumbling from praises we sing.
Our Sovereign, Victorious is marching before us, And we are determined to live for the King.
When I am weary – I’ll look to His face; And when I am tempted, I’ll trust in His grace —
Yes, I’ll trust in His grace —–
I am determined to be invincible
‘Til He has finished His purpose in me.
And nothing shall shake me For He’ll never forsake me
And I am determined – I am determined — I am determined to live for My King.